“O” Wow: Camden Yards makes top 10 vegan friendly ballparks (guest post)

June 7th, 2017

This guest post is from Heather Moore, a lifelong Orioles fan, a seasoned vegan, and the volunteer Veggie Happy Manager for the O’s. Heather can be reached directly via email or at 941-330-6430 (call or text) if you have questions or want to help get more vegan options at O’s stadiums.

If you read my recent guest blog about the veggie options at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, the spring time home of the Baltimore Orioles, you know that I was eager to share some exciting news about PETA’s 2017 Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Ballparks: Oriole Park at Camden Yards scored the eighth spot for its variety of veggie wraps and veggie dogs and burgers!

Root, root!

While I haven’t personally been to Camden Yards in quite some time, I know that you can get Field Roast vegan franks or veggie burgers at popular concession stands, O What A Dog and Baseline Burgers. Other concessions stands also offer veg-friendly fare, such as soft pretzels, fruit salads, and traditional veg snacks like popcorn, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks.

My mouth waters whenever I think about the vegan franks available at Camden Yards!

Camden Yards Vegan Frank

I’m a still a bit jealous of Texas Rangers fans, though. Globe Life Park in Arlington took the top spot on the list of vegan-friendly ballparks, and the menu at Ballpark Vegan makes me really drool.

OK, but the O’s have beaten the Rangers before (remember the 2012 AL Wild Card Game?) and we can do it again—and perhaps Camden Yards can eventually beat (or at least tie) Globe Life Park on PETA’s list of vegan-friendly stadiums.

O’s fans—and fans of any venue that offers vegan options—can help.

The concessions at Oriole Park at Camden Yards are managed by Delaware North Sportservice (Tel: 410-659-0812). Let’s give them some fan feedback—think of it like voting for the All-Star Game, except that it might be a bit counterproductive to contact them 25 times a day.

If you call, I recommend congratulating Camden Yards on making the top 10 vegan-friendly list and praising their existing options, such as the vegan franks and veggie burgers, before suggesting a few additional vegan items that you would order. (I think mini crabless cakes would be ideal at Camden Yards, but you can relay that more vegan options in general would be “o-mazing.”)

You can also go to the Contact Us link on Orioles.com and fill in the form to suggest some more vegan fare. And here’s the telephone number for Oriole Park at Camden Yards: 410-685-9800

If you receive an exciting response, please share it!

Watch for the new mobile-friendly Veggie Happy website and Venue Guide (directory), launching later this summer!

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TX Rangers’ GlobeLife Park and its Ballpark Vegan cart (guest post)

May 30th, 2017

This post comes from Twalla Grant, an avid Texas Rangers fan and the volunteer Veggie Happy Manager for GlobeLife Park.

Our Texas Rangers may not be #1 for the AL West (yet) but the BallPark Vegan cart at GlobeLife Park is! (Scroll down for more photos.)

Twalla (me) and Dave on Opening Night

Twalla (me) and Dave on Opening Night

GlobeLife Park concessions have gone from a single vegan-friendly hot dog to a fully vegan cart in just a few short seasons. It was not always easy convincing the concessions manager that the need for more plant based options was there, but being consistent and staying in constant contact was key.

After befriending the Concessions Manager via e-mail, I didn’t just e-mail giving feedback about the hot dog, but about any big game happenings too (wins, losses, player trades, etc). Even in the off season, I stayed in contact. I am sure, as I told him, there were plenty of days that he wished I forgot his e-mail. I e-mailed a lot. A LOT.

Do you have a local vegan Facebook group? Being part of local vegan groups, I was able to effectively spread the word about the options available at GlobeLife Park. Sales increased when word spread about the vegan-friendly hot dog and its location within the stadium. There were even a few games where they completely sold out! At that point, I decided to create a Facebook page, Veggie Texas Ranger Fans, to help document the need for more plant based options. For each post made by a fan other than myself, I would e-mail a link or screen shot to the Concessions Manager to continue to show the need for more plant based options.

Since GlobeLife Park allows you to bring in your own food and drink, I was able to bring in things for the Concessions Manager to try. I wouldn’t call it bribery, but more like spreading the vegan love. Omnis (omnivores) are not always aware of yummy plant based foods, so it’s important to share when they’re willing to taste, and luckily, he was.

Fast forward to 2017 and we are in our second season with a fully vegan cart that is doing outstanding!

The best advice I can offer to make this happen for your MLB Park (or any venue) is to stay in constant contact with the Concessions Manager and get other like-minded fans involved. You need to be able to show that there is a need for plant based option at their venue. Ask other fans to call/e-mail but make sure YOU are doing it as well. Using social media to its advantage will also help in showing the need to any venue’s Concessions Manager.

In our second year with the vegan cart, we have two new items: black bean tamales & Mediterranean nachos. They are doing well. The vegan dog remains a top seller. It can be ordered plain or with chili & “cheeze” (I like spelling dairy-free cheese with a ‘z’).

Now, for some photos!

Margie & Cory, on Opening Day 2017 stayed with fan favorites, BallPark Nachos & Hot Dog topped with chili, cheeze and grilled onions. To quote Cory: “Thank you for making this available at the ballpark. It’s great to be able to order more than just fries.”

Margie & Cory

Margie & Cory

Makenna likes the Southwest burger (comes with Stacy’s pita chips). To quote Makenna: “The burger was so good! Love that there are vegan options at the ballpark.”

Makenna

Makenna (right)

Terry (pictured) and his wife, Traci, like their hot dog with chili, cheeze and grilled onions.

Terry

Terry

Paul provided a before & after picture of the black bean tamales that he ordered topped with cheeze, grilled onions and jalapenos. According to Paul, an avid meat eater & Ranger fan, “I didn’t expect much from dairy-free cheese, but after that first bite, I’m hooked. It has more of a spicy kick to it, which I prefer, and since my wife is making me watch my cholesterol, this will be my go-to at games.”

How quickly it disappeared!

How quickly it disappeared!

My personal favorite varies between the black bean tamales with cheeze & grilled onions and the ballpark nachos with chili & cheeze. As the Texas heat sets in, I think the Mediterranean nachos will become a favorite. Tip for the Mediterranean nachos: Let the toppings marinate into the hummus for a few minutes before digging in.

Twalla (me) with the Tamales

Twalla (me) with the Tamales

I love attending games with my boyfriend or a group of girlfriends. We love our Texas Rangers and the BallPark Vegan cart!

Twalla (me), Rachel, Coline and Whitney

Twalla (me), Rachel, Coline and Whitney

I recently hosted a vegan meet up in April at GlobeLife Park and am planning two more.

Photo courtesy of Dallas Vegan Roundup

Photo courtesy of Dallas Vegan Roundup

If you’re ever in Texas and going to attend a Rangers game, please let me know. You can contact me via my Facebook page: Veggie Texas Ranger Fans. We would love to hear about your experience or come say “hi” if we’re at the same game!

 

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Top ten vegan-friendly ballparks and a fan who made the #1 difference

May 24th, 2017

PETA has just announced their top ten vegan-friendly ballparks for 2017. Veggie Happy provided some assistance to PETA for their campaign and our Venue Vegetarian Guide (MLB) has been linked at the bottom of their announcement. (Read PETA’s top ten list here.)

The Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Park came in at #1 this season. Major kudos needs to be given to our volunteer Veggie Happy Manager, Twalla, who is largely responsible for the wonderful vegan options that are now available there. (You may have read her guest post on the VH blog last year. Another post will be coming from her soon.)

It used to be that the Rangers had very little in the way of plant based options available for their fans. Twalla is a huge Rangers fan, a vegan, and a regular game attendee. She contacted Veggie Happy a number of years ago, asking what she could do to make a difference. From there, she took it on. She provided suggestions and feedback to the foodservice reps and was gracious in her approach. She’s the kind of fan they want to please, and their response has proven that. She is their go-to person for all things vegan now. (Twalla also created a dedicated Veggie Texas Rangers Fans Facebook page and has hosted a number of group game outings to celebrate their vegan options.)

One fan made the difference at that ballpark. One fan who believed in what was possible, who communicated with a smile, and who took the time to be resourceful and professional in her communications.

It’s easy to be complacent about the lack of viable plant based options at a given venue or foodservice establishment. The thing is, how is that establishment expected to know about your experience of eating before or after, or bringing your own food . . . if you don’t ever tell them? Most businesses tally customer feedback and factor it into future decisions.

When you use the Venue Vegetarian Guide to find out what plant-based options are available at MLB or NFL stadiums (and more categories will come), take a few minutes to utilize the contact information for that venue as well. Chime in with your own customer feedback. Thank them for what they have, or ask them to offer what you find missing. That’s all there is to it! Make your voice count.

Please note that a mobile-friendly and modern Veggie Happy website and Venue Vegetarian Guide will be launching soon! If you received this post through a link or a forwarded message, consider subscribing to receive future Veggie Happy notifications.

P.S. Veggie Happy has volunteer managers in various cities around the country. If you’d like to volunteer as one for your own region or venue, please contact us.

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‘O’ so exciting news (VH Manager guest post)

May 8th, 2017

Many stadiums, including the Orioles’ Spring Training home, are becoming more vegan-friendly!

Me and the Bird--O's event 2015

Hey, sports fans! I’m Heather Moore, the new volunteer Veggie Happy Manager for the Baltimore Orioles. I’ve been following the O’s my whole life, and I think they’ve been “following” me, too—although that’s probably just a coincidence. I was born in B’more, and I moved to Norfolk, Virginia, with PETA, the organization where I now work, in 1996. Soon after that, the O’s announced that their Triple-A team was going to play in Norfolk, about 10 minutes from my apartment. Years later, when I was considering moving to Sarasota, Florida, the O’s announced that they were going to hold Spring Training at Ed Smith Stadium, which happens to be about 10 minutes from the house I ended up buying. Clearly, I was meant to get Spring Training season tickets.

Since I’ve been vegan for 25 years, I’m just as interested in the options in the concession stands as I am in the action on the field. When I went to buy the tickets, I told the salesperson that I was hoping for more veg options in the concession stands, because in 2010, there wasn’t much other than popcorn, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks. The season ticket salesperson said he’d pass my request on, and apparently he did, because the next year, Ed Smith Stadium had veggie burgers, which I bought at every single home game. I haven’t missed a game in eight years—but I tend to go for the veggie dogs now, which they added to the lineup two seasons ago. The main café has hummus now, too.

Os Sky

Sunset at Ed Smith Stadium

This past March, veggie burgers and veggie dogs were available to all of the fans at the season ticket holder special event at Ed Smith Stadium. Previously, the O’s staff would bring me a specially prepared vegan meal, but I usually had to request it. They were always friendly and accommodating, but it’s more exciting now that veg options are automatically available to everyone in attendance.

That’s one of the reasons why I volunteered to be the Veggie Happy Manager for the Orioles. I figure Buck Showalter already has his hands full managing the team, so I should help out by making sure that the fans have access to veggie options. I’m looking forward to working with the O’s food service staff—as well as other O’s fans—to get even more vegan fare at O’s stadiums.

Many ballparks, including Minor League and spring training stadiums, will offer vegan options if the fans simply express interest.

As the Veggie Happy Venue Vegetarian Guide shows, many ballparks now offer a variety of vegan options, thanks to feedback from Veggie Happy and fans who enjoy tasty, animal-friendly fare at the stadium. It only makes sense for stadiums to offer meat-free fare, considering that MLB partners with Stand Up to Cancer and many of the foods traditionally sold in baseball stadiums—like hot dogs and hamburgers—can cause cancer.

Humane and health-conscious fans can opt for veggie burgers and veggie dogs at most stadiums, and some—including Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.; Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park; Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles; and the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field—have even scored spots on PETA’s popular list of veg-friendly ballparks.

I can’t spoil the surprise just yet, but PETA’s 2017 list of top 10 vegan-friendly MLB stadiums will be released soon, and it’s even more exciting than the Opening Day extra inning walk-off home run by O’s DH Mark Trumbo! (Note from Veggie Happy: PETA’s list considers options available in suites, catering, and clubs, in addition to general concessions. Menu listings in the Venue Vegetarian Guide are focused on general concessions.)

Stay tuned—or as O’s centerfielder Adam Jones says, stay hungry! Oh, and O’s fans, you can always contact the Orioles to let them know how much you enjoy meat-free meals and would love to see even more vegan options at all of the Orioles’ stadiums. 

Heather Moore is the new volunteer Veggie Happy Manager for the Baltimore Orioles. She’s a lifelong O’s fan, a seasoned vegan, and a staff writer for the PETA Foundation. She can be reached at HeatherM@petaf.org or at 941-330-6430 (call or text) if you have questions or want to help get more vegan options at O’s stadiums.

 

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Helping Foodservice Managers

January 24th, 2017

Plant based foods are continuing to grow in demand, particularly with Millennials. Large entertainment venues and smaller foodservice accounts are equally getting on board by adding more of these options to their menus. The options today are plentiful and tasty, appealing to a wide swath of flexitarian customers and going far beyond strict vegetarians or vegans.

Veggie Happy helps established foodservice managers by providing suggestions and liaison assistance for food samples and tastings.

“Johanna [director of Veggie Happy] has done a tremendous job of helping to implement vegetarian menu selections into sporting venues. She is very enthusiastic and will assist you doing research and product selection when necessary. She has encouraged, and assisted me in adding healthy menu items at my venue which we have continued to increase every season.”
– Sandie Filipiak, Director of Concessions at AT&T Park

For quick clarification to those who are unfamiliar: Veggie Happy is not a manufacturer, brand, or broker. Veggie Happy advocates for viable plant based menu options. Whenever you add new plant based options, Veggie Happy also celebrates your menu and helps to spread the word. Have you seen our MLB or NFL Venue Guides? They are utilized by thousands of people every day.

What might you add to your menu? Consider a variety of plant based meats like sausages, burgers etc. Or what about DF pizzas or ice cream? You might also add GF cookies, snack chips . . . and more.

Contact info@veggiehappy.com if you’re an established foodservice manager and would like more information and liaison assistance.

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Plant-based menus: trend to movement

December 16th, 2016

This is the time when top ten 2017 food trends are forecasted by respected researchers, marketing organizations and food industry representatives. Retailers, foodservice establishments, concessionaires and the media all pay close attention to these reports and consider these “trends” as they plan new menus for the upcoming year.

One common item in the trend reports for 2017 is the focus on plant-based foods and menus, and an important secondary aspect of that trend is the highlighted consumer group being targeted: flexitarians. That is to say, this trend relates to mainstream consumers who are reducing their meat or dairy consumption, It’s not really focused on self-identified vegetarians or vegans.

Here are some interesting examples highlighting how this “trend” is actually a fast-growing movement:

  • A new trade group, the Plant Based Foods Association, was established earlier this year to represent makers of proteins derived from plant-based sources. An industry lobby is now in place.
  • Tyson Foods just launched a $150 million VC fund called Tyson New Ventures to invest in meatless foods and technology.
  • Hampton Creek‘s eggless Just Mayo continues to disrupt the food industry and now Hellman’s is creating an eggless mayo of their own. Meanwhile, Hampton Creek’s eggless-egg has been replacing eggs in all kinds of packaged products.
  • Bill Gates is one of the big VC investors in plant based protein technology, including the meatless Impossible Burger which is now highlighted on the menu at Jardiniere, a high-end French restaurant in San Francisco. (It’s meatlessness isn’t even mentioned.)
  • Food establishments, schools and hospitality groups are all looking at ways to expand their plant-based menus with delicious options. This is true globally. The word’s most prestigious cooking competition, the Bocuse d’Or, will focus on a plant-based dish for chefs from 24 countries in the 2017 grand finale. That means no dairy, no eggs, no meat.

Visit Veggie Happy’s Facebook page (the page is titled “We’re Veggie Happy”) for more informative and fun posts related to the increasing popularity of plant-based menu options on mainstream menus.

Bon Appetit!

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A book plug from Johanna

July 15th, 2016

Johanna here, Founder/Director of Veggie Happy, taking a moment to share something totally off topic: the publication of my mother’s memoir, Six Car Lengths Behind an Elephant: Undercover & Overwhelmed as a CIA Wife and Mother.

Six Car Lengths book cover

The book is now available in paperback or Kindle on Amazon. It is also available in bookstores. If it’s not in stock, you can order it. Reference ISBN: 9780997596304

Go to Bordertown Publishing for more information about the book. (I am also the editor.) If you’d like to receive updates from Bordertown Publishing, please sign up for the mailing list here.

Thanks!

Now, back to your regularly scheduled program . . .

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Vegan fare at TX Rangers ballpark: guest blog from Twalla

April 25th, 2016
Me and my boyfriend Dave

Me and my boyfriend Dave

This guest post comes from Twalla, volunteer Veggie Happy Manager for the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park. Twalla has been amazing at opening the door to vegan fare at this ballpark. How did she do it? What are her suggestions to others? Read on.

I am a huge Rangers fan. As soon as they played their last game of 2015, I started counting down the days to opening day for the 2016 season. When the Concessions Manager let me know that there was going to be a vegan cart at the ballpark as of April 4th, the date could not get here fast enough. I had never been so excited for a Monday!

Since it seemed like opening day would never get here, I decided to attend the exhibition games for the first time. They were on Friday, April 1st and Saturday, April 2nd. During those two days, we tried the nachos topped with cheese & chili with meat crumbles as well as the burger with hummus. Both are so good, but the nachos are my favorite! On opening day, I opted for the spinach wrap, which I also enjoyed. (Note: Dave is not vegan, but these were his words,“Those nachos are really good!!”)

Vegan Burger

Vegan Burger

Vegan Nachos

Vegan Nachos

Vegan Spinach Wrap (without the vegan chicken)

Vegan Spinach Wrap (without the vegan chicken)

Oh, and this is the shirt I had printed and wore on opening day:

Twalla Tee

“VEGAN FOOD” replaced “BBQ”

The line for the Ballpark Vegan cart was up to 20 people deep at some points during the game. It was a win for both the cart and our Texas Rangers that day. I was particularly glad to find out that on opening week, more vegan burgers were sold than the Wicked Pig (YES!)

Rangers Ballpark Vegan Cart

Ballpark Vegan cart

If you want a vegan cart at your ballpark, you need to contact or e-mail the concessions team. Don’t just do it once, hoping they will listen: keep e-mailing them. Over two years, I e-mailed our Concessions Manager (Casey) and even brought him vegan food items to try. I also created the Facebook page “Veggie Texas Ranger Fans to find more like-minded Ranger fans and help show that there was a real demand to meet the supply of vegan-friendly ballpark foods. To quote Casey, I “politely pestered” him and it paid off!

I have also created a Twitter account @veganrangerfans, so I can easily communicate with the Rangers and their concession company Delaware North, as well as fellow Rangers fans. I encourage anyone to use #ballparkvegan and #veggietexasrangerfans when posting their pictures at Ranger games. This will allow me to find their posts on social media and provide feedback to Casey. My next goal is for them to add another cart on the 1st base line, and also vegan churros. 😉

The Whitley Family (They were excited to be able to finally attend a Rangers game with a great selection of ballpark fanfare for their vegan family.)

The Whitley Family (They were excited to finally be able to attend a Rangers game with a great selection of ballpark menu options for their vegan family.)

Me and my friends (left to right: Rachel, me, Coline)

Me and my friends (left to right: Rachel, me, Coline)

On Saturday, May 14th, we are having a BallPark Vegan Night (check out the promotional flyer below.) We will be seated in Section 320.

Flyer

Would love for you to join us, but if you can’t, consider hosting an outing at your own ballpark!

 

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More MLB vegan firsts

March 22nd, 2016

We’re receiving updated vegetarian/vegan menu listings for MLB parks for the coming season. As they continue to come in, we can already share a couple of vegan firsts:

Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field has added vegan frankfurters to their menu this season. This marks the first time that this ballpark is offering any kind of vegetarian hot dog on the menu. It’s a big deal. (Only three MLB parks remain without a vegetarian hot dog on the menu . . . as of today.)

Also, Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Park will be debuting a vegan cart this year.

Vegan nachos

Vegan nachos at Globe Life Park

“Vegan-themed portable cart offers a variety of popular ballpark fare and other healthy options that do not contain any animal bi-products. The menu consists of: Southwest Black Bean Burger, Vegan Nachos, Vegan Hot Dog, Vegan Jerky, Vegan Chili, Vegan Spinach Wrap, Shake It Up Salad, Fresh Cut Fruit and more! Located in section 16.”

Our Veggie Happy Manager Twalla has been influential at that ballpark and we applaud her! Check out her Veggie Texas Ranger Fans Facebook page .

We’ll keep posting updates to the We’re Veggie Happy Facebook page and will edit the MLB Venue Vegetarian Guide as new menu listings come in. Remember: fan feedback makes a difference! Use the contact information in the listings to relay your thanks or suggestions at the ballparks you frequent.

Things are looking up when a ballpark in Texas is proudly promoting its new vegan cart to the media.

Happy 2016 baseball season, everyone!

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The Butcher’s Daughter and Adam & Eve

January 16th, 2016

Imagine a vegetarian or vegan raving about how much they love the food at a cafe called The Butcher’s Daughter. On the flip side, imagine a mainstream diner who has no plant-based preferences and eats everything animal-based, also raving about how much they love the food at a strictly vegetarian/vegan dining establishment. More and more often, they’d be talking about the same place. Vegan fare is going mainstream folks. “The proof of the puddin’ is in the eating!” Well there’s more proof being offered every day.

Heather Tierney is the owner of one such establishment. It’s a cafe in New York called The Butcher’s Daughter. As you might infer from its name, she is not a vegetarian. She describes the food she serves as “hearty and delicious—almost like vegetarian food for non-vegetarians.” Her smashed avocado toasts offer one such example. (Yum!)

Butcher's Daughter toast (1)

Read about Tierney’s recipe for success and the opening of her second cafe in a 3,200 square-foot space in Venice (California, that is, not Italy.)

Now, imagine a vegetarian or vegan raving about the food served at an English pub. Pubs are not generally associated with plant-based eating, right? And again, imagine a mainstream British pub-goer, raving about the food at a pub that only serves vegetarian and vegan fare. The first all-vegetarian pub (which is almost entirely vegan) is in Bristol, England and it’s called Adam & Eve.

Owner Bruce Grey said: “It is early days, we only introduced the menu at the start of January, but so far the reaction has been brilliant.”

adam-and-eve-hotwells-bristol-pub (1)

Read more about vegetarian/vegan pub Adam & Eve in today’s Bristol Post.

Is there a vegetarian/vegan food establishment with big-time mainstream appeal that you consider a favorite and would like to recommend? What are their best dishes? Please share them in our comments section.

Here’s to happy noshing in 2016!

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